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3 day/2 night excursion from Dublin

Friends and I will be in Dublin early Oct, with a 3 day/2 night break mid-week, and want to take an auto trip out of the city during that time. Checking Rick's Ireland travel guide, he suggests Dingle as his 1st choice for adding 2-days to a 3-day Dublin visit--and of course, Dingle sounds absolutely lovely and I'm sure we would enjoy being there very much, and I have reservations at a lovely guesthouse there.
However in looking into various routes/options for traveling Dublin/Dingle/Dublin-- I'm encountering a lot of inconsistency in estimated travel times --from 3.6hrs (Mapquest) to 6hrs (Rick's text). Plus, I don't find any of Rick's point's of interest along the M7 route, and wonder if this drive might end up kind of daunting/exhausting-- given the time we have to do the trip.
And so, I'm trying to explore options and am wondering;
----maybe traveling from Dublin on M7/M8, visiting Cashel along the way, dropping down through Cork and over west for a 1st night in Kenmare, then heading into Dingle early next morning might be a more interesting way to get to Dingle than straight through on M7. However to do this would take up one of our two nights.
----If I do this, then is there a way to make the trip from Dingle back to Dublin more interesting without adding too much time to the 3.5 to 6 hour trip back? Maybe driving up to Ballybunnion and then along the Shannon Estuary to Limmerick, and connect with M7 there for the return to Dublin.
----OR......perhaps trying to visit Dingle from our base in Dublin is unwise in this short a time, and I should instead spend Day 1 visiting Powerscourt Gardens/Glendalough and make my way down to Kilkenny first night; then visit Cashel and make my way down to Kinsale 2nd night; then spend the morning of Day 3 visiting Cobh, and maybe heading east over to Waterford to pick up the M9 back to Dublin.
I'd be very grateful for any suggestions and/or information to help me in my decisions!

Posted by
5762 posts

Did the drive a year ago. it's about 4 hours from Dublin to Dingle, straight, not stopping. Dingle and the surrounding area especially the Slea Head drive is gorgeous. I also feel in love with the Gap of Dunloe. I was traveling in November and there wasn't anyone there save for a few cars, 1 trap and a couple of lorries. Some hikers and rock climbers. For me it is a memory that I'll treasure forever, walking half of it then returning to my car and driving over it. It's about an hour's drive from Dingle or Killarney. Killarney National Park was stunning.

Then again on my very first visit to Eire in 97' I found Glendalough and the surrounding Wicklow National Mountains park unbelievably gorgeous. Took my breath away. Drove from Glendalough to Jearpoint Abbey (which Rick doesn't favor but I throughly enjoyed) then onto the Rock of Cashel. If memory serves then drove another hour or 2 and spent the night in Kinsale, which I loved.

North of Dublin is Newgrange. Loved it and visiting Carlingford which hadn't yet been "discovered."

I'm thinking with such a short time frame to truly enjoy your visit and not be rushed I'd go for option 3.

Ireland will invade your soul. You'll return, I promise!

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you Claudia!
I really appreciate your sharing your thoughts about Dingle---think you gave me the insight to save that experience for another trip when we have more timer. We chose Dingle because Rick described it as traditionally Irish and quaint, with incredible natural beauty, plus a wealth of ancient historical sites to visit . Does the Newgrange/Carlington area have similar features?
I also appreciate your description of past travels to the south--to Cashel, Kinsale, etc which certainly has a lot to offer as well. Still a lot of driving but not so much as Dingle, plus there are numerous points of interest along the way. Thanks again for your input